What We Learned From Game 2
It didn't take long into Game 2 to become apparent that Jonas Hiller is probably not going to be back for the duration of this series. Karri Ramo withstood an early onslaught and did all he could for the rest of the game to give his team a chance at tying the series. Unfortunately for him, his offense couldn't get much going, but he will be back in the crease tonight trying to buy the Flames some more time once again. Unless Ramo totally collapses down the stretch, he will be their starter moving forward.
Also, unless the Ducks decide to completely coast in these next few games, they should be able to finish off Calgary in four or five games. The inverse of this idea is touched on a little bit below, but there was a period of time on Sunday night where it looked like Anaheim just fell asleep at the wheel, and Calgary still couldn't make them pay for a lackluster effort. Game 1 and the first period of Game 2 were outstanding examples of what Anaheim has the potential to do to the Flames when they're firing on all cylinders, while the second matchup implied that the Flames still need to step their game up if they want to take advantage of the next stretch of down time that the Ducks might have. Unless that second period knuckle-dragging style of hockey becomes the norm, Calgary just looks like they'll be too overmatched to put up much of a fight for the rest of this series.
What Needs to Change From Last Game
This is the flip side of the "what we learned from Game 2" section. For most of the final two periods, the Ducks were lacking, as Frederik Andersen would put it, a 'foot on their throat' attitude. It's fortunate that Calgary's offense failed to take advantage of the infamous Anaheim second period, but it would be stupid to draw the conclusion from last night's game that the Flames are just unable to hang with the Ducks. Calgary is still an NHL-caliber team, and a pretty decent one, at that. With their home crowd at their back for the next two games, and the aforementioned improved play from the last section, they will eventually convert on their chances should they be given enough by way of any more complacency from the visiting team. Just like in Game 1, the Flames can't have any reason to believe they can hang around. Take the wind out of their sails, get them frustrated, and let them resort to physical retaliation. Here's yet another friendly reminder that this fallback strategy is still something that Calgary is bad at:
Since both teams were busy making their way up to southern Alberta, neither of them practiced yesterday. The Flames will probably be entering Game 3 with much more confidence than they did in the last two, especially since they'll be skating in a barn that they've had much more success in. Like Anaheim, the Flames have yet to lose on home ice in the postseason. Obviously, the Ducks haven't lost on the road yet either, so one of these streaks will come to an end tonight.
The Ducks are prepared for a rowdy atmosphere, and overcoming the Winnipeg fans in Round 1 made for some solid practice for the C of Red that awaits them within the Saddledome. Francois Beauchemin referenced the team's preparation for the MTS Centre as their game plan for Calgary's fans, saying, "We talked a lot about it before we went there, had a good practice and in the game, tried to get the puck in our possession and in their zone as much as we could to try and calm the crowd down a little bit. That's going to be the same type of game we play [tonight]."
Calgary strikes first, but in an incredibly appropriate display of foreshadowing, one of the small flamethrowers that the Saddledome shoots off after the home team smokes out. The Ducks then take control of the remainder of the game and end the night with a 3-0 series lead.